WASHINGTON, DC - In an effort to help more Rhode Island students achieve their academic and career goals, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) today announced that the University of Rhode Island (URI) and the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) will receive a $643,117 three-year federal grant to establish "Academic Roadmaps," which are web-based tools that will inform, guide, and advise students and their families about higher education and career pathways.

"I commend the University of Rhode Island and the Community College of Rhode Island for their leadership on this innovative project and I am pleased they will receive this federal grant. This money will help schools streamline academic planning efforts and give their students greater access to information and advice about the academic and career opportunities available to them," said Reed, a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee and the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees federal spending on education programs. In August 2007, Reed wrote a letter in support of the program. "Making it easier for students and their families to find information that can help them choose and successfully pursue majors, graduate programs, or careers will go a long way toward improving higher education in Rhode Island and across the country."

This federal grant is one of only sixteen awarded nationwide by the Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE) from among a pool of more than 400 applicants. The University of Rhode Island and the Community College of Rhode Island will use the FIPSE grant to develop "Academic Roadmaps" for the fields of nursing and biology, building upon a template created in 2006 for the fields of wildlife conservation, nutrition and dietetics, animal sciences, and geosciences. Funding will also be used to develop an interactive "My Academic Roadmap" advising component for each of the fields to help students create academic plans that fit their needs and interests.

According to Deborah Grossman-Garber, URI director of student learning, outcomes assessment, and accreditation, and one of eleven principal investigators from URI and CCRI working on the grant, the Academic Roadmap project will improve academic advising and better align the curricula between the two schools making it easier for students to identify their career goals, achieve higher levels of education, and complete their degrees in a timely fashion. The availability of these maps on the worldwide web will also provide advising assistance to students at other colleges and universities.

"We are persuaded that students who have a keen sense of their intellectual interests, capabilities, and career goals will succeed with greater commitment and efficiency. All of this requires a renewed dedication to advising but with an enhanced grasp of what students need to know about pathways of learning in order to make intelligent choices. This project provides a strong relationship between and among student learning, academic choices, and student advisement," said Robert L. Carothers, President of the University of Rhode Island.

"To improve student recruitment and retention, all institutions of higher learning must first connect students and those who influence their career choices to accurate educational guidance, delivered in a format that is accessible and understandable. This, I believe, is what makes this FIPSE project so exciting--it creates not only a usable roadmap for life sciences education and careers, but also an accessible Web-based format that can transfer to a variety of learning environments," stated Ray Di Pasquale, President of the Community College of Rhode Island.